U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington, D.C.

LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 16670 / August 31, 2000

SEC v. CHRISTOPHER L. BURTON, U.S.D.C. for the District of Columbia, 00 Civil Action No. 02094


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed today a settled injunctive action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Christopher L. Burton, a resident of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Commission's complaint alleges that, in January 1999, Burton engaged in insider trading in the securities of Arkansas Best Corporation, a holding company engaged in transportation and related businesses. At the time of the trading, Burton was the Director of Economic Analysis for Arkansas Best's principal subsidiary. Without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, Burton consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and ordering Burton to pay $85,319 in profits gained as a result of his purchases and sales of Arkansas Best securities, plus prejudgment interest of $9,512. Based on Burton's demonstrated financial condition, a civil penalty was not assessed against him.

The complaint alleges that from January 12, 1999 to January 21, 1999, Burton purchased Arkansas Best common stock and units of a fund invested solely in Arkansas Best stock while he possessed material non-public information concerning the company's soon-to-be released earnings and other aspects of its financial performance. Prior to the opening of trading on January 22, 1999, Arkansas Best announced that it had earned $.41 per share during the fourth quarter of 1998, an increase of 116% over the fourth quarter of 1997, and that for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1998, net income was $1.21 versus $.84 for the 1997 fiscal year. (At the time, consensus Wall Street estimates for the fourth quarter of 1998 had been $.17 per share.) The complaint alleges that Burton's total profit from trading Arkansas Best securities while in possession of material non-public information was $85,319.